book cover of Butcher
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Butcher

(2024)
A novel by

 
 
‘Simply the most consistently inventive, brilliant, curious and creative writer going’ GILLIAN FLYNN

'Delightfully disturbing' iNEWS

'A blood-soaked, gothic nightmare' FINANCIAL TIMES

From one of our most accomplished storytellers, an extraordinary and arresting novel about a women’s asylum in the nineteenth century, and a terrifying doctor who wants to change the world.

In this harrowing story based on authentic historical documents, we follow the career of Dr. Silas Weir, “Father of Gyno-Psychiatry,” as he ascends from professional anonymity to national renown. Humiliated by a procedure gone terribly wrong, Weir is forced to take a position at the New Jersey Asylum for Female Lunatics, where he reigns. There, he is allowed to continue his practice, unchecked for decades, making a name for himself by focusing on women who have been neglected by the state—women he subjects to the most grotesque modes of experimentation. As he begins to establish himself as a pioneer of nineteenth-century surgery, Weir’s ambition is fueled by his obsessive fascination with a young Irish indentured servant named Brigit, who becomes not only Weir��s primary experimental subject, but also the agent of his destruction.

Narrated by Silas Weir’s eldest son, who has repudiated his father’s brutal legacy, Butcher is a unique blend of fiction and fact, a nightmare voyage through the darkest regions of the American psyche conjoined, in its startling conclusion, with unexpected romance. Once again, Joyce Carol Oates has written a spellbinding novel confirming her position as one of our celebrated American visionaries of the imagination.

'A master storyteller'THE TIMES

'Vividly and compellingly-drawn' iNEWS

Genre: Literary Fiction

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